The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Private boost for blood drive

Although Calcutta and its fringe areas happen to be leaders in voluntary blood collection, the state still faces an acute shortage when it needs the stocks the most — in summer.

To make people aware about the acute shortage of blood in summer and explain the hazards of diseases like AIDS and thalassaemia, the state government has now sought the help of private blood banks and corporate houses to create an awareness on the benefits of blood donation. “The shortage is primarily because donation camps are fewer,” said state health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra on Thursday.

The government has decided to encourage more blood donation camps in summer. The minister said mass campaigns could go a long way in explaining to the people the necessity of blood banks.

Apart from the government’s own infrastructure, it will also receive help from Khadim’s, the footwear company, which launched a mass-awareness campaign in the city and nearly 18 districts through interactive and entertainment programmes. On Thursday, at least three tableaux were brought out on the theme of blood donation and blood-related diseases. The tableaux will pass through important district towns and villages, apart from places like Dum Dum, Barasat and other fringe areas of the city, in the coming weeks.

Khadim’s and Bhoruka blood bank have joined hands with the government to create an awareness on sexually-transmitted diseases. “The population needs to be educated on blood donation drives and blood-related diseases. Many people want to donate blood but are not aware about the procedure. We want to help them out,” said Siddhartha Roy Burman, managing director, Khadim’s.

“People are amazed about a footwear company’s involvement in the health sector. Every individual has a strong role to play and Khadim’s has the network to do so,” Roy Burman added.

Apart from blood donation, the tableaux will also propagate the message of pre-marital tests for thalassaemia and prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases among the masses. “Despite the fact that West Bengal is a low-risk zone in terms of AIDS, we are laying stress on sex education and thalassaemia check-ups before marriage,” the health minister added.

Rakesh Agarwal, assistant director, Bhoruka Blood Bank and Public Welfare Trust, said that his organisation would support the government in its endeavour to bring down the rate of sexually-transmitted diseases and promote voluntary blood donation programmes.

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